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Queens Muslims Allege Racial Profiling in Zazi Investigation

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Community organizers took to the street outside Flushing Library Saturday to talk about what demonstrators say is growing fear among area Muslims, amid the ongoing police investigation of Najibullah Zazi, who was allegedly plotting a bomb attack against New York's transis system.

REPORTER: Ayesha Mahmooda with the advocacy group Desis Rising Up and Moving, or DRUM, says in her outreach at the buildings raided by law enforcement in recent weeks, more than a hundred women said their husbands had been stopped by the police.

MAHMOODA: When they’re going to work, they’re being questioned, they’re being ID’ed, they’re being asked by police enforcement where are you going, are you involved in any kind of attacks or plotting anything.]

REPORTER: Demonstrators also say law enforcement surveillance and the presence of the media have driven down attention at the Flushing mosque Zazi used to attend, Masjid Hazrat Abu Bakr.

Last month police raided a number of apartments in the area of Queens where Zazi stayed during his visit to New York. A Queens man, Ahmad Wais Afzali of Flushing, faces a charge of making a false statement to investigators... as does Zazi's father in Denver. Authorities say Afzali, a former NYPD informant, tipped Zazi off to the investigation and later lied to authorities about that telephone conversation.

An NYPD spokesman responded to yesterday's rally by saying the department does not engage in racial profiling, and it follows leads in terrorism cases in much the same way as in gun trafficking and other criminal activity.

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